will have or would have


We use the perfective will have when we are looking back from a point in time when something will have happened.

By the end of the decade scientists will have discovered a cure for influenza.
I will phone at six o’clock. He will have got home by then.

or looking "back" from the present:

Look at the time. The match will have started.
It’s half past five. Dad will have finished work.

We use would have as the past tense form of will have:

I phoned at six o’clock. I knew he would have got home by then.
It was half past five. Dad would have finished work.

We use would have in past conditionals to talk about something that did not happen:

If it had been a little warmer we would have gone for a swim.
He would have been very angry if he had seen you.



Sir, I have a question. Take a situation. Suppose my friend Johnkilled a cat for no reason known to me. So I am just guessing what was in his mind at the time of killing the cat. Here I can say two sentences. Please tell which one of these is correct.

1. John would have thought it was a tiger.
2. John will have thought it was/is a tiger.

Hello Viraj,

'will have' can be used to speak about something in the past that you consider certain. In this case, in which you say you are guessing about John's motivation, I wouldn't use 'will have', as it implies more certainty than a guess. Instead, I'd recommend 'may have' or 'might have'. As far as I know, 'would have' isn't used in the way you use it here.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you sir. So, like if I was more certain in this case for example if I knew that there were a lot of tigers in that place where John was roaming, then could I say that "John will have thought it was a tiger".

Hello Viraj87555,

Not quite. The certainty is not about the tigers, but about John. In other words, you could say 'John will have thought...' if you know John well enough to be sure about his thought processes. You are describing how well you know how John thinks, not whether or not there were tigers.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hi guys. Greetings from the russia and i hope the weather is more comfortable in your place today).
And i have a question: is the next two sentences right? ' i'll receive that until the morning' and ' i will be there at the (beginning of) July month'? Thanks).

Hi rewand,

The first sentence is not correct. We use 'until' with an action which continues for a period of time and then stops; 'receive' is not an action which has a duration as it is an instantaneous change. The sentence would be correct with a different verb such as 'keep', 'look after', 'wait' or similar, or with a different word instead of 'until' - something like 'by' or 'in', for example.

The second sentence is fine apart from one thing. We would just say 'July', not 'July month'.

Please note that we don't offer a correction service for our users. We're happy to help explain points and clear up things for you, but we don't check sentences as we have have no time for anything else if we tried to answer those kinds of questions!

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello samer1974,

No, 'would' is used (and not 'would have') to speak of past typical actions that no longer occur. The idea of the past is already included in 'would' in this use – 'have' is not necessary in this use.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Could you please give me some examples where 'would have been' is used?
Thank you very much.

Hello Shamhk,

'would have been' is very common in third conditional structures – see our Conditionals 2 page for several examples.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team